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Process safety

We want to improve safety through the equipment and systems we use. We do this by applying good practice in their design and implementation and by planning every stage of our operations with safety risks and their mitigation in mind. Through our operating management system (OMS) we work to reduce the number and severity of process safety events
Pipe mapping

Spills and spill prevention

We’ve made?good progress in preventing and?reducing?spills over the past 10 years. This?reflects?the targeted actions we’ve taken to?improve?performance.?However, in 2019 we saw an increase in the total number of oil spillsa?from?124 in 2018 to 152. This is mainly due to?acquisitions?over the past 18 months but we are?taking?steps to improve the performance of?these assets.


Over several years we’ve focused on building competency across bp, resulting in a safe system of work, which supports the identification of process safety risks and a reduction in spills. We’re sustaining this through training in key processes, such as isolations or re-instatements and the operation of valves, carried out by our operators. We choose the most appropriate investigation methodology, depending on an incident’s severity and complexity. The most robust methodology we use, for investigating the most serious and complex incidents, is the ‘logic tree’. This is bp investigation training and certification which has been externally accredited by The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health.


Our risk process has been implemented across the group and is continuously updated to help enable us use the most effective processes and tools. In Upstream, all of our regions develop annual loss of primary containment (LOPC) plans, which address the key measures they need to take to prevent LOPCs, which comprise the vast majority of all spills. The regions collaborate with each other to share best practice and a central team works to make sure that any systemic gaps are closed rapidly.

20 April 2020 marks ten years since?Deepwater Horizon?


Making bp safer, reducing risk and rebuilding trust?was the key focus of the 10-point plan that Bob Dudley, then our chief executive, announced in 2011.


A?decade later, we’ve achieved?improvements?in our safety performance?through?training and technology, heightened?standards?and continuing work on incident?prevention.?Our bp values and behaviours?are?deeply embedded across the group.?They continue to reinforce systemic working?and an?open culture where people feel?empowered?to speak up if they believe?something?is not right.

Human performance

People’s actions and decisions are influenced by the conditions in which they work: the processes they follow, the equipment and systems they use and their surrounding environment – these all make a difference. We can improve or redesign these aspects to reduce the likelihood of human error. To do this, we’re making greater use of human performance techniques.


Steered by our group operations and risk committee, we focus on building capability – embedding good human performance approaches and skills so that everyone involved in a process can support safety. We have a number of subject matter experts and human performance champions, all actively involved across our Upstream, Downstream and other businesses and corporate segments. At the end of 2019, our bp businesses had human performance strategies in place and around 9,000 of our people had completed human performance e-learning modules.


Collaboration and sharing experience

bp’s Upstream global operations organization hosts an annual industry conference to strengthen safety through collaboration and shared experience. In 2019, CEOs and safety leaders from more than 20 key suppliers, together with leaders from Total, Shell and Chevron, attended a safety leadership and human performance event in Baku, Azerbaijan. Participants visited bp-operated sites and gained hands-on experience and understanding of a key aspect of human performance – identifying the gaps between ‘work as we believe it’s done’ and ‘work as it’s actually done’. Following the conference, attendees felt better equipped to build human performance processes into their operations.


Covering both process and personal safety, ‘leading in operations’ (LiO) is our new training approach to operational safety leadership. Designed to help us develop world-class operational leaders who are well equipped and highly capable.

a. The number of accidental or unplanned losses of hydrocarbon from primary containment from a bp or contractor operation, irrespective of any secondary containment or recovery. Oil spills > 1bbl are defined as any liquid?hydrocarbon release of more than, or equal to, one barrel (159 litres,?equivalent to 42 US gallons).